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Modified lockdown at 2 schools
Search for Athens suspect spurs action at Leon Sheffield, Benjamin Davis

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

School officials placed Leon Sheffield and Benjamin Davis elementary schools on modified lockdown Tuesday morning while law enforcement searched the Lafayette Street area for an Athens murder suspect.

Supervisor of Safety Phil Hastings said Decatur police notified him at about 10 a.m. that they were running a stakeout and seeking a suspect in a case.

"They said it wasn't safe for children to be out in the neighborhood, so we put the school into modified lockdown in case something developed out of the situation," Hastings said.

Police Lt. Chris Mathews said law enforcement followed a lead that Jarvis Werner Hines, 20, of Tanner might be in the Northwest Decatur area.

Authorities did not find him.

Hines is wanted for allegedly shooting and killing Donnell McCullough, 64, on Dec. 14 at Houston Court Apartments on Ninth Avenue in Athens.

An Athens police official said Hines remains at large. He is considered armed and dangerous. Under modified lockdown, school personnel lock all entrances to school buildings. Anyone who wants to enter or leave can do so only with permission from school administrators and the Police Department. Classes and instruction continue under a normal schedule. It differs from a lockdown, in which all outside and inside doors are locked, instruction stops, and everyone remains silent until the crisis ends.

The schools stayed in modified lockdown until class let out for Christmas break at about 11:30 a.m. Hastings said school officials did not let students leave until police notified them that it was safe. Additional school and police personnel monitored the school release. Another officer went to Carrie Mathews Recreation Center.

Anyone with information on Hines should call Athens police at 233-8707.

Daily Staff Writer Seth Burkett contributed to this story.

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